2018's one-stop shop for achieving your dream hair? John Frieda's Margaret Street Salon, recently revamped with the announcement of cult colourist Nicola Clarke at the helm. Frieda has a knack for nurturing talent, and supports his protégés' visions throughout his salons globally, so Nicola's appointment as the creative drive behind this London location was inevitable. "I've been working with John since 2001," Clarke explains. "He successfully collaborated with Serge Normant in New York so I knew that I could do the same here in London, with my own twist. We have a great working relationship and he trusts me.”
“Opening Nicola Clarke at John Frieda is a very exciting step for our brand," Frieda said of Clarke's appointment. "Having worked with her for over 15 years, I know that Nicola’s global renown makes her the perfect person to lead the business into the next stage, offering both new and existing John Frieda clients the exceptional standards we are known for, with Nicola’s own inimitable twist.”
If you're not familiar with Clarke's reputation, one scan through her clientele gives an indication of how much she's trusted with colour. She's been doing Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett's hair since 2000, flying worldwide to adjust the actresses' shades and tones for both work and the red carpet. Kate Moss has been a client since the '90s, Madonna regularly has her blonde maintained by Clarke, and Carey Mulligan, Margot Robbie and Sienna Miller are often in the chair, too. She has loyal customers spanning entertainment and finance, media and modelling, who all come back to Clarke time and again, thanks to her ability to style, protect and nourish a hairstyle.
"I'm best known as 'The Queen of Blondes' but that's just a small part of my work – I love colouring red, brunette, pink..." Clarke explains. "I do a lot of styling for red carpets and collaborate with actresses' stylists and makeup artists. I think it's important to be versatile."
If that list isn't enough of a guarantee that the Margaret Street salon will be this year's coolest hair hangout, you can bet that Clarke's 'handpicked hair squad' is. "The team is really important to me and I’ve got colourists and stylists that I’ve worked with for a long time that have great skills in different fields," she tells Refinery29. "For instance, I have the amazing Jessie, who is the best in town for all the film work we work on, while Shannon is a cool girl if you want a pink, bleach or just complete change. John is my glam boy for our red carpet looks, and I trust Francesca and Carmel with any of my celebrity clients. Francesca even stepped in for me when Kate Winslet needed a red carpet hairdo – I trust all my team who I think are the best in town."
Bringing together some of the world's most sought-after stylists, Clarke has created a hub of creativity, where no style, colour or cut is too challenging for her superstar lineup. During opening week, Tracey Cunningham and her team of stylists brought their LA-influenced cool girl hair (usually reserved for the likes of Kim Kardashian, Jessica Biel and Drew Barrymore). Clarke has also secured the salon as a base for mega stylists Leanne Citrone, Renya Xydis and longtime friend Sam McKnight, who will all work from Margaret Street when they're in the UK.
City dwellers, rejoice, as there will be a focus on the pollution-tackling Detox Blowdry, which seriously fights product build-up and the effects of hard water and chlorine, while rebuilding hair to a super glossy finish. "But we have lots of big plans this year," Clarke teases, "so you'll have to wait and see."
In terms of which trends and movements we'll be seeing from Clarke in 2018, she's thrilled about the return of the haircut. "It's great because it's been all about growing hair out for too long! The blunt cut is still a big trend, but it will get more extreme this year, pairing it with a bob and blunt fringe," she says. Can such an extreme cut be for everyone? "It can feel like a scary one to have, and is definitely a strong look, but can be really flattering and interesting if done right."
For colour, she sees a move into warmer tones. "Golden sunsets or experimenting with copper – either through balayage or as a block, uniform tint, generally, warmer colours are making a comeback over traditional ashy shades. They're more flattering, too. I'll match with a gloss treatment for a super luxe look."
When Clarke predicts a trend, we listen. No doubt John Frieda's Margaret Street salon will draw celebrities and influencers alike, all after Clarke and her team's Midas touch. Time to book an appointment, stat.